Monday, 16 March 2009

The importance of news in blogging

A regular reader of this blog emailed me this weekend to ask:

"As Matthew said in his last entry, however, timing is everything. Unfortunately, at at the moment, my work isn't structured to be able to strike while the iron is hot. This makes it difficult to get engaged in a debate and then try to lead it. There do seem to be other "thought leadership" blogs that don't seem to engage in a debate. Are political blogs different I wonder? Anyway, these are some topics that we could pick up when hopefully we get around to meeting.

This is a really familiar challenge that lots of our clients face. I firmly believe, having done it myself and with the benefit of working for lots of others that the following is important:

- if you can't blog frequently, write posts that you have 'in the locker' which you can post (automatically if necessary) when you can see the diary is busy. You can quickly top and tail these to make then topical.
- when you want someone to read your post, you have to sell it to them. An important part of sales is timeliness - why read it now? If you could read it tomorrow, you would then (but end up not doing so). If you want readers, the post has to be timely. Even if it's a personal blog (I had a nice weekend) it should be too late to read it five days later.
- all blogs should engage in a debate. If you're not situated in a community of blogs then the chances are you are either to successful to need it or too unsuccessful to deserve it.

I suppose it is possible to not be in a newsworthy debate with a group of other blogs. But if you're not you need to:
- really understand what interests your audience
- know where they currently congregate and how to attract them to your post
- be able to draw them back to your blog again and again
- give them incentives to tell their friends about your blog

So if you're blogging for your friends or a limited group of people (your staff?) it might not be necessary for your blog to be newsworthy and part of a debate. But if you want to use it to:
- establish your expertise
- retain existing relationships (clients?)
- develop new relationships
- broaden your networks

then I believe our advice is important. Challenge me, if you disagree.

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